IDC: Tablets Are Replacing Traditional Client Devices

According to IDC, tablets are seeing increasing use as the only device used by employees in enterprise.

The majority of enterprise tablet users in the UK, Germany and France still have at least one other device – such as a desktop, smartphone or workstation. However, a large and growing number use a tablet as their only work tool. Tablets either replace a traditional client device, or add functions not previously supported by any existing product.

“As digitalisation transforms business processes and tablets are optimised for business functions from both a hardware and application standpoint, we can only expect an increase in the share of standalone tablets, as confirmed by the purchase intentions of the study respondents”, said IDC’s Marta Fiorentini.

40% of users have a tablet as their sole business device, says IDC. When including convertible and hybrid devices, however, this increases significantly. Hybrid products are often deployed to replace portable and desktop PCs, due to the option of being used with a keyboard.

Hybrid devices are often purchased with larger screens than tablet PCs. Just over 10% of tablets are larger than 11″, the figure is almost 30% for hybrids, and is expected to pass 50% within two years.

In spite of the cannibalisation effect on traditional client device markets, stand-alone commercial tablets are also creating opportunities for device makers. For example, tablets are being used by waiters, doctors and pilots to replace pen and paper. “This is where the growth opportunity lies”, said Fiorentini. In 2014, this market accounted for almost 6% of standalone tablets in the UK, France and Germany. Within the next 24 months, this share is expected to pass 20%.

Job role plays an important part in this use of tablets as standalone or companion devices. User groups usually involved in document creation and editing, such as executives and white collar employees, tend to use them as companion devices. However, mobile and customer-facing workers are more likely to rely on standalone tablets.